In Which Mackenzie Takes A Breath
After our session, it was a little early for breakfast, but it also felt like it was too late to go back to bed… unless I wanted to risk sleeping straight through thaumatology. Professor Goldman didn’t grade on attendance or hand out a lot in the way of homework, but the majority of our grades came from the quizzes he gave out every Friday.
Unless he planned on handing out some more free hundreds before the end of the semester, I couldn’t really afford to skip any more Fridays. So, I decided to steal a bit of relaxation and get in the bathtub before the rest of the dorm woke up.
Feejee was snoozing in her usual tub when I got in there. She had the curtain drawn for once, but her flipper… or fluke, I guess she called it… was kind of poking out. I didn’t want to wake her up, but it wasn’t like the tub came with a volume control… though I could see how that would be useful. Not only would it help you not disturb your neighbors if you were the sort of person who took baths at odd hours, but it could be useful if you wanted to listen to music while the tub was filling, or whatever.
That seemed like the kind of feature that a really high-end tub might have. There hadn’t been anything like that in the Empress Suite, but I could see a custom bath with its own music box also having a silence spell on the faucet, or even something that transformed the sound of it.
Of course, the simple stone tubs in the dorm bathroom wouldn’t have anything like that… but was I an enchanter, or wasn’t I?
I wasn’t, in point of fact… but I had spent like a month and a half learning how to alter the intensity of a property. I could probably make a loud thing louder. It seemed to me like I should have been able to make a loud thing less loud… or at least make a very slightly quiet thing more quiet.
Of course, there was a problem… the water pouring out of the faucet wasn’t a single discrete thing, it was a bunch of amorphous stuff that would crash against the bottom and fall apart as soon as I grabbed hold of it. Even still water was hard to enchant. What I really needed was an actual silencing spell to throw around it. I could have maybe made the walls in the alcove less echoey, and the curtain more muffling, but they were very echoey and it wasn’t much of a muffler. Trying to turn the bathtub into a zone of silence for the duration of the tub filling wouldn’t have made for a very relaxing start to my bath.
But it was interesting to think about it, about what I could do with my limited knowledge and how far I had to go. That was what applied enchanting was about: finding uses for this stuff. In the bad old days, you’d throw a silence spell on a pair of boots or a cloak or something so you could sneak around and kill people or things without getting noticed. Now it could be used for privacy, for greater comfort in travel, or to avoid awkward and disturbing conversations with ravenous floormates.
I giggled a little at that last thought… I tried not to, and only succeeded in sublimating it into a loud and kind of painful snort that resounded way too loudly all around me. I froze. Feejee muttered a “huh, what?” kind of sound and shifted around a bit in the water.
I considered very quietly picking up my things and going back out the way I came, but only for a moment. I’d come there to take a bath. Why did it have to be a whole big operation? Well, partly because of Feejee, but I was letting that happen. I could have just come in all matter-of-fact, turned on the water, and climbed in. If I wasn’t letting Kiersta’s lame attempt at being an authority figure keep me from enjoying a morning soak, why was I letting a little thing like… okay, it wasn’t a little thing. It was a serious problem that needed dealing with.
But it had nothing to do with me taking a bath or not.
I turned on the water, slipped out of my robe, climbed in, and closed the curtain. A liberal application of bath products and a few minutes later, I was in steamy peppermint heaven. Dee’s deep-breath-through-the-nose thing was so much easier to practice when the air tasted like soothing candy.
Why couldn’t I smell like this all the time?
Not rotten eggs, not Feejee’s favorite treat with a possible side of supernatural addiction, but just… a pleasant peppermint haze. It would be nice to smell like that… like anything other than what I was, anything other than a demon or a human or a mixture of the two.
I must have drifted off, because I didn’t hear Feejee getting out, or the curtain sliding open, but I opened my eyes after a particularly deep and soothing breath, and there she was, looking down at me.
With the whole “don’t eat me” thing, I’d kind of lost sight of how beautiful she was. Feejee’s skin… when she wore it as skin and not scales… was incredibly clear and smooth, but it was a color you didn’t find in most races: like a deep tan, but tinged slightly green. Not what people call “olive skin” on humans: just deep tan, mixed with a bit of green. She was very solidly built, broad across the hips and shoulders.
For all that they were equally unsupported, her breasts hung more freely than Amaranth’s did.. and while I liked Amaranth’s, there was something very free about Feejee’s. She was wild and untamed. Amaranth was cultivated.
I realized that my hand was between my legs, and I didn’t care. Neither, apparently, did she.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey,” I said, my finger rubbing all around the area around my… well, the general clitoral area.
“You smell like candy canes,” she said, breathing in.
“Yeah,” I said. My finger flicked back and forth.
“I like candy canes,” she said. “In fact, I love candy canes.”
That was a little surprising to me… I wouldn’t have guessed she would have known what they were, much less that she had a taste for them.
“Me, too,” I said. Had I had a candy cane that I could remember? Not that I could think of. I didn’t fucking care. Feejee loved candy canes. I had enough scent clinging to me that could have been one. I loved them, too.
“I like to lick them,” she said, flicking her green tongue out around her lips. “Until their stripes come off in my mouth. I like to suck on them, until they’re worn down to little nubs. That’s what I like to do, when I can… but I’m usually not that patient.”
“Me, neither,” I said.
“I’m going to eat you now,” she said, and she started to climb into the tub with me.
“Okay,” I said, only hoping that she wouldn’t finish before I did. I could feel it building up inside me, getting closer and closer… I had this idea that all I needed for a truly epic climax was Feejee’s teeth sinking into me.
“Mack?” she said.
“Okay,” I repeated. I closed my eyes and drank in more of that scent. Closer… closer. “Eat me.”
“Mack?” she said louder. She bent down and started shaking me, and that was all it took… I was off. I was bursting off like bubbles rising to the top of a cauldron.
“I said you could eat me!” I shouted through the waves of pleasure. “Go ahead!”
The world seemed to flip around, the water of the tub sloshing up past me to envelop her. My leg was tangled up in the curtain somehow. Feejee had resumed her fishy lower form for some reason.
“Mack!” Feejee said again, her voice suddenly seeming much closer to me even though she’d been right in front of me all the time. “Mack, I’m glad you’re coming around but… time and place?”
“What?” I asked, kicking free of the curtain.
Her tail melted into a pair of scaled legs and she sat up, scooting out from under me.
“We can’t do this here and now,” she said. “Among other things, Iona would never forgive me… and we’d never get away with it.”
“Hey, you started it!” I said, trying to get to my feet. What had I been thinking? “And I am not coming around, Feejee. Not to that… not for real.”
“Then why’d you climb into my tub telling me to eat you?” she asked.
“You climbed into my tub,” I said.
That was when I realized where I was.
“Oh,” I said. “Um… I guess maybe I was sleepwalking?”
“I think I was asleep,” I said. “I was dreaming.”
“People walk in their sleep?”
“Not usually,” I sad.
“But you do?” she asked.
“Then why do you think you were doing it now?” she asked.
“Because I was dreaming that you and I were having a conversation about candy canes and then I woke up over here,” I said. No sense going over the details.
“Uh huh,” she said. I could tell she wasn’t buying it. “And that stuff you sprayed was part of the dream?”
I was probably already blushing, but the realization that I’d probably gushed all over her stomach really turned up the steam.
“Sorry,” I said.
“It’s okay,” she said. “It’s kind of interesting. I always wondered if being lesbian meant you were part guy. I guess now I have proof that I’m not one.”
“What? Feejee, that’s just… you know… an orgasm,” I said. “Every woman does that. It’s normal.”
Not that I had a lot of basis of comparison there, but Amaranth hadn’t said that anything was wrong the many times I’d came in her presence, and neither had Steff or Ian.
“I don’t,” she said.
“Yeah, well… maybe yours isn’t completely functional,” I said. “Like a decoy. Actual mammalian vaginas do that. It’s normal.”
“If mine’s not doing anything it’s supposed to, Rick’s been a pretty big gentleman about it,” Feejee said.
“Well, maybe he doesn’t have a lot of experience,” I said.
“Yeah, I guess you would know better than most,” she said. She stretched her legs back out, slipping one of them across to trip me up so I landed with my butt on her ankles. “This is kind of nice, you know. Sharing water.”
She gave me the hungry look that let me know exactly what she meant.
“You’re not worried that someone will come in and realize we’re in here together?”
“I don’t really care about that now,” she said. She tilted back a bit and lifted up her legs so I started to slide towards her. Her legs seemed to be surprisingly strong, but then, she did swim with them. “I just want to keep you close to me.”
“You don’t care if someone thinks you’re a lesbian?”
“If someone comes in, you can be very quiet, can’t you?” she asked. Darkness started to swirl out of the centers of her eyes, turning them into black pits. “Very still?”
Push back, I thought… and then I wondered if I really wanted to listen to the advice of a demon. If not listening will get me killed…
But I didn’t want to push back, not too much. I wanted to be close to Feejee. The scent of peppermint still hung over me like a shroud, still filled my nostrils. I felt my hand moving.
“No gay stuff,” Feejee whispered. “We don’t need that. I know what you want, Mack. I know what I want.”
“Feejee, whatever I said… I was dreaming,” I said. “Raving.”
“Shh, shh,” she said, her eyes boring into me. “Food doesn’t talk… and anyway, maybe you were just saying what you really felt.”
She pulled me in against her chest, turning me around to face away from her. Breaking contact with her eyes didn’t seem to lift the heady fog that filled my brain. But even through that haze, I realized there wasn’t anything she could do to me… she didn’t have a magic blade with her, and her teeth couldn’t pierce my skin.
I felt her teeth closing in on the skin of my neck, as if to confirm that. She bit hard and she pulled hard to the side like she would rip and tear, but of course all that did was spike the pain in a wonderful way. She let go of that mouthful and began to nibble up and down my shoulder.
This wasn’t so bad. The scent of peppermint and the teeth of a mermaid, her breasts pushing against my back… it wasn’t bad at all.
“We’ll just enjoy a little nibble,” she whispered in my ear. “And then I’ll take you back to my room. I caught you in water. That’s close enough, I think. It’s close enough. I mean, you’re only halfway human, so even if it only halfway counts… you know?”
Something was badly wrong… beyond the fact that I was getting snuggly with a mermaid who wanted to devour me, beyond the fact that a mermaid wanted to devour me. Even though Feejee’s self-control wasn’t much better than mine, she should have at least reacted to the possibility of being caught in another supposed lesbian tryst. She’d always been as scrupulous about the restriction to feeding in water as Dee and Amaranth had been about their own religious beliefs.
“Celia,” I said. Feejee didn’t have a private room. No matter how muddled she had me, she couldn’t risk doing me in the bathroom, but she couldn’t take me back to her room. “What about Celia?”
“Probably didn’t sleep in our room,” she said.
“Iona!” It was a weak objection, but it could stall.
“I saw you first,” she said. She turned me around again. Her mouth split open wide, her teeth gone long and pointed. “But Mack, I keep telling you food doesn’t talk… I think it’s time for us to go before you get more ideas.”
Her head whipped to the side, and then I heard voices outside the door: Trina and one of the Leightons. The door swung open. We both froze, I felt as guilty as Feejee looked, for some reason.
“Oh, kheez, what the hell happened in here?” Trina said. “There’s more water on the floor than in the tub.”
“What happened, Feej… wet the bed?” one of the Leightons said, and the other laughed.
I tried to make myself very small… as Feejee had said, very quiet and very still. Why was I hiding with the ravenous, me-eating monster to escape from mere bullies? It was a good question. I could have screamed murder as soon as they interrupted Feejee’s hold over me… or could I?
Maybe the fact that I still felt paralyzed with fear proved that I couldn’t… but it wasn’t fear of Feejee, it was fear of them, of their scorn. I knew that Feejee longed to literally eat me alive, but in that moment I was almost convinced that what Leightons and Trina would do would amount to the same thing.
“It was probably the other one,” one of the Leightons said. “Look at all these fruity bubbles… by the Dark Herald, if I didn’t know she was a dyke I’d think she was a faggot.”
Fortunately, the sound of my gasp was covered by the sound of her sister’s and Trina’s.
“You can’t say that!” her twin said.
“What? Yes, I can.”
“Are you crazy? We’re attached. You can’t say that kind of shit, Tara, not when you’re stuck to me,” the one who by the process of elimination had to be Sara said. “You can’t!”
“Oh my khosh, I have to tell everyone, right now,” Trina said, and she did just that, her flip-flops making splat noises on the wet floor as she ran for the door yelling, “Everybody was up! You won’t believe what Tara said!”
The vague silhouette that was the Leightons began moving in the strangest way as they both stopped talking and instead starting making other sounds. It took me a moment to figure out that they were fighting. Trina, still in the doorway, reported this new development: “Everybody get up right now, the twins are killing each other.”
Thinking there wasn’t going to be a better time, I stood up and slipped out of the tub… “slipped” in the sense of “my foot failed to find purchase and I ended up landing smack on my ass with my legs going in directions no gods of good had intended for them to go in”, not in the sense of “with commendable stealth and grace”.
Oh, well. I had a feeling I was going to be in trouble no matter what happened, but it would be far, far better to not be in the bathtub when people responded to Trina’s summons, as they would… it was the time of day when people would be heading there anyway.
The Leightons were really going at it. Tara seemed to be trying to choke her sister with her one hand when she could get a grip on her neck, and was otherwise grabbing and pulling on her. Sara was just straight out beating on her. Neither of them was doing anything to defend herself from the other. They’d been wearing nothing but a towel when they came in, and now they were wearing nothing.
It was… well, they had kind of an athletic build that didn’t do a lot for me. Tara had gouged out some scratches on her sister’s arm and shoulder, and Sara had bloodied her nose in return. The tangy sweet coppery scent mingled with the smell of the peppermint, so strong in the aisle between the tubs.
Feejee climbed out of the tub. She put her hand on my shoulder and I felt torn: eat or be eaten. They both seemed like valid choices in that moment.
More people were crowding around the door, though there was a bit of a logjam with Trina of the creepy eye and the plump ass standing in the way. I could see the people milling around behind her, though.
There was Rocky, who’d tasted so good.
Sooni… why couldn’t she have been as mature on the inside as she looked on the outside? My insides ached for her, but she was every bit the baby she pretended Kai was… otherwise I’d fuck her brains out. It would be worth the trip to Yokan just to smack some sense into the idiot mother who’d spoiled her.
Who was I kidding? If I wasn’t Amaranth’s, I’d trade places with Kai in a heartbeat. I’d be a better match, anyway. Sooni could throw shoes at me all day long and not even dent me.
Oru was peeking around Trina’s legs. She creeped me out. Goblinoids creeped me out. That was all there was to it.
There were more, but they were at the front. Behind them all was Two… I couldn’t see her, but I could smell her through the peppermint haze and I could hear her complaining about people blocking the door when she needed to take a shower. The sound of her voice… I wanted to deck her. That wasn’t all, though. I wanted her to spank me, I wanted to eat her, I wanted to hold her forever, I wanted to kill everybody who’d ever hurt her, I wanted to build her a box and hide her away from the world, I wanted to climb inside her dreams with Dee and watch her fly.
What the hell is happening to me? I thought, and then I watched the Leighton’s foot smash down on a pile of bubbles I must have tracked across on my way to Feejee. Peppermint, I thought. Peppermint haze.